Katelyn Cottone (Oakland Community College, USA)
Students enrolled in Organic Chemistry I at Oakland Community College are present because many need the course to fulfill requirements for pre-professional programs to which they plan to apply. Of the 54 students present in the course on the first day, generally less than a handful know what a polymer is. Introducing polymeric materials into the curriculum is one way to engage students while also fulfilling the recommendations of the ACS Committee on Professional Training. Some of the ways to incorporate polymers into lectures include a discussion of anionic polymerization while talking about epoxides, exploring radical polymerization during the radical reactions section, and discovering that the degradation of PVC is related to conjugated dienes. Additionally the stories of Herman Staudinger and Wallace Carothers can be told to give students context and meaning to otherwise easily forgotten names and concepts.